I-57 overpass named in honor of fallen Illinois State Trooper
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY firstname.lastname@example.org December 18, 2012 4:58PM
Officials from the Illinois State Police District Chicago, Illinois Department of Transportation and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 present the family of Sergeant Anthony Millison with a formal representation of the bridge overpass sign honoring Millison. Sergeant Anthony Millison fell to his death at the 147th Street overpass trying to avoid an out-of-control van as he directed traffic in 1997. At IDOP, Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 in Midlothian, IL | Gary Middendorf~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 20, 2013 6:22AM
The Thornton-Blue Island overpass on Interstate 57 is no longer a bridge or an overpass but a memorial to Illinois State Police Sgt. Tony Millison.
For the first time — thanks to a new state law — Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation dedicated a roadway in honor of a trooper killed in the line of duty.
Millison’s family joined a throng of state troopers Tuesday morning at IDOT’s yard at 159th Street and Pulaski Road in Midlothian to unveil the large brown sign that now marks the overpass from which Millison fell to his death on Oct. 27, 1997. The white letters simply read: “Trooper Tony Millison Overpass.”
Millison’s son Marcus — who was 16 when his father died — said his family is “still grieving” but their hearts are “filled with joy” knowing that he will be remembered.
“Serving other people was all he ever wanted to do,” Marcus Millison said.
Sgt. Millison was southbound on I-57 that icy morning, en route to an accident on I-80 when he lost control of his squad car as it skidded into the bridge wall.
According to state police, Millison had gotten out of his car to help other motorists when a red van spun out of control. To avoid being struck by the van, Millison attempted to climb onto the bridge railing, lost his grip and fell 47 feet.
“He gave his life doing what he wanted to do. I can’t argue with that,” said Millison’s older brother, Robert Millison. “But I still miss him. I always will.”
Millison’s widow, Shirley, said she learned about the memorial this summer.
“I thought it was awesome,” she said.
Millison was remembered by his colleagues as an “extraordinary trooper,” “brave hero,” “caring father” and “devoted husband.”
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 raised money to pay for the signs.
“It is a stark reminder of the dangers that public safety officials face every day,” Lodge 41 President Michael Powell said.